Washington, DC – The National Health Law Program strongly condemns Secretary Azar’s threat to have the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services withhold millions of dollars in Medicaid funds from the state of California because of its abortion coverage mandate.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would withhold $200 million in the first quarter of 2021 and an additional $200 million every quarter after that. In January, HHS issued a notice of violation, citing California for violating the Weldon Amendment, a federal appropriations rider that since 2005 has restricted access to abortion care. California law guarantees the right to abortion access and coverage, and since the 1970s, California has required abortion coverage in state-based health plans.
“As a Californian, I am appalled that the Trump Administration is punishing my state for protecting reproductive and sexual health by threatening to withhold funds from the 13 million Californians who depend on Medi-Cal,” said senior attorney Fabiola Carrión.